Yesterday, Innovation Ohio participated in a press conference to announce the formation of a new coalition formed to fight the passage of Issue 3 on the November ballot. As we have noted in our earlier report, Bad Medicine, Issue 3 is a misguided effort to make a statement about the federal healthcare law which will have unintended consequences for Ohio.
A copy of the press release can be found below.
Columbus, OH: Today, health advocates, voters rights groups, policy advocates, legal experts, professors, and medical professionals stood together to ask Ohio voters to reject state Issue 3, or the so called ‘Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment.’ The Vote No on Issue 3 coalition named its co-chairs and other organizations opposing Issue 3. The coalition’s co-chairs are:
The Tea Party and other proponents of the amendment claim its passage would nullify the so-called “individual mandate” to purchase health insurance contained in the Affordable Care Act, or what critics call “Obamacare.”
“Putting Issue 3 into the Ohio constitution would be an absolute disaster,” said Dale Butland, communications director for Innovation Ohio and a coalition spokesperson. “As Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has indicated, the fate of the individual mandate will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, not an Ohio ballot initiative. But the wording of Issue 3 is so sloppy that it would likely invalidate dozens of other, already existing Ohio laws and regulations we rely on to keep us safe and healthy. That is what brings together such a diverse group speaking with one voice–Issue 3 is bad medicine for Ohio.”
Law professors who have studied the amendment and its likely effects on Ohio law say it is so ambiguously worded that it would threaten a wide range of already-existing Ohio health programs, practices, and policies enacted and supported by elected officials on both sides of the aisle, such as Workers Compensation, school immunizations, and the monitoring of “pill mills.”
“We should be working together to solve America’s health care crisis with good policy, not confusing the voters,” said Jessie Hill, a coalition co-chair and a Professor of Law at Case Western University School of Law in Cleveland. “No one should take amending Ohio’s constitution lightly–especially with ambiguous and counterproductive language that will lead to years of expensive and time-consuming litigation.”
Dr. Art Lavin, a physician from Cleveland and a coalition co-chair, expressed concern as a medical professional. “We cannot afford to take a step backwards in Ohio and put our public health care policies at-risk,” said Lavin. “The amendment’s author has said publicly that one of his goals is to stop Ohio from vaccinating school girls against cervical cancer, for heaven’s sake. I think that shows how extreme this amendment and its proponents really are.”
Newspapers around the state are also calling for a no vote on Issue 3. The Columbus Dispatch, and the Akron Beacon Journal already have asked their readers to vote no on Issue 3. More newspaper “no on issue 3” endorsements are expected.
“We urge voters to reject Issue 3 to keep our families safe and healthy and to avoid years of costly litigation,” said Brian Rothenberg of Progress Ohio and another coalition spokesperson. “We simply cannot afford the snake oil that the tea party is selling.”
For more information on the No on Issue 3 coalition, visit its website at www.votenoissue3.com.